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Libraries Struggle As Funds Dwindle

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This week's LA Weekly published a scathing report on our city's dwindling library culture due to budget cuts deemed necessary by the Mayor and City Council. Shorter operating hours, staff cuts, and reduced book-purchasing funds have all contributed to a public library system that's now struggling to meet demand. The article, titled "City of Airheads: Villaraigosa Dismantles L.A.'s Vaunted Library System", holds Mayor Villaraigosa —backed by the City Council— squarely responsible for the system's current woes:

Here, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa executed an unprecedented, and punishing, raid on the libraries. Last spring he convinced the City Council to close the city's central and eight regional libraries on Sundays, then slashed $22 million from the 2010-11 budget and closed all 73 libraries on Mondays beginning July 19. Library officials say as many as 15,000 youths -- plus an untold number of adults -- have been turned away every closed day this summer.

These budget cuts come at a time when library use is on the rise — a rise that's typical in a bad economy:

Reflecting the effects of the recession, visits to Los Angeles public libraries jumped from 16 million in 2007 to 16.6 million in 2008 and 17 million in 2009. In a city of 4 million, there's a major demand not just for free books to read but for free wireless and Internet access.

As the city's unemployment numbers continue to climb, the number of citizens visiting the city's public libraries will, most likely, also continue to rise. Libraries are particularly valuable in economic downturns because that's where people can go to search for jobs and file for unemployment benefits. We can only hope that libraries will be able to meet that demand.

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Two men in long clothing plant a small tree together.

African Leaders Warn COVID-19 Crisis Harming Climate Adaptation Push

The coronavirus-linked economic slowdown is limiting cash to help Africans pay to adapt to climate extremes, from drought to floods.
A group of mules lined up and reined together gallop down a commercial street. Spectators watch on the sides of the road and a mountain landscape fills the background.

Y luego hubo dos: Inyo y Merced atrapados en el nivel más estricto

Al no poder cumplir con los criterios estatales de infección por COVID-19, los condados de Merced e Inyo aún no pueden reabrir la mayoría de las empresas. El estatus de los condados amenaza un gran evento del Día de los Caídos en Bishop, por lo que la ciudad ha pedido al estado que reconsidere los requisitos de su condado rural.
A group of mules lined up and reined together gallop down a commercial street. Spectators watch on the sides of the road and a mountain landscape fills the background.

And Then There Were Two: Inyo and Merced Stuck in Strictest Tier

Unable to meet state COVID-19 infection criteria, Merced and Inyo counties still can’t reopen most businesses. The status threatens a big Memorial Day event in Bishop, so the town has asked the state to reconsider its rural county requirements.